Episode 181

Community Over Competition with Natalie Franke

June 19, 2018

Natalie Franke, founder of the Rising Tide Society, shares her philosophy of community over competition, cultivating an abundance mindset, finding and embracing your purpose in the evolving work you do, and seeking healthy competition.

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This Episode Brought to You By:
"We can either look at each other as enemies or we can look at each other from the standpoint of camaraderie—that we're in this together."
- Natalie Franke

Discussed in this Episode

  • Natalie's entrepreneurial journey
  • The importance of community
  • Working yourself vs. working for someone else
  • Community over competition
  • Embracing an abundance mindset
  • When competition is good and healthy
  • Dealing with self-competition


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Kathleen Shannon 0:01
Hello and welcome to being boss,

Emily Thompson 0:04
a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson.

Kathleen Shannon 0:08
And I'm Kathleen Shannon. I'm Natalie Frank and I am being boss.

Emily Thompson 0:17
Today we're talking about community over competition with Natalie Frank. As always, you can find all the tools, books and links we reference on the show notes at WWW dot being boss.com.

Kathleen Shannon 0:30
Hey there bosses, we know you're getting a lot of stuff done, you're checking off those to dues and wearing a lot of hats and your creative business. But just because you can do it all doesn't mean you should take accounting. You know, it's an essential part of your business. But becoming a self taught accountant is only going to distract you from what you really want to be doing all day. Fresh books cloud accounting will allow you to save your time and energy on administrative tasks by making keeping track of your books ridiculously easy. freshbooks keeps your money organized with easy to use features like invoicing, time tracking, creating estimates tracking expenses, late payment reminders, project collaboration, online payments and so much more. So whether your creative career is still a side hustle or you're fully supporting yourself with your entrepreneurial endeavors freshbooks makes being boss a whole lot easier. Get a free 30 day trial of fresh books right now. Go to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section.

Emily Thompson 1:33
Natalie Frank Hayes is an entrepreneur, mobilization marketer, community builder and neuroscience nerd. As one of the founders of the rising tide society and the head of community at honeybook. She leads 10s of 1000s of creatives and small business owners, while fostering a spirit of community over competition. She lives in San Francisco with her husband consumes copious amounts of coffee every day, and enjoys traveling to new cities with a camera in hand.

Kathleen Shannon 2:05
Natalie, we are so excited to have you on the show. You get requested all the time. People are like you have to talk to Natalie. So we're so excited to finally have you on.

Natalie Franke 2:16
I'm so honored, I am so honored to be on the show. I have been a fan of y'all for a very, very, very long time. And I love what you're about. And I love how you empower people. And I am just honored. I really am I'm so honored.

Kathleen Shannon 2:29
Well, I think that we share a lot of values. You know, one of the things that we were saying early on is a rising tide lifts all boats. And we've always been about community over competition and people like okay, you literally need to talk to Natalie of rising tide da. And so for those of our listeners who aren't familiar with you or your story, can you give us a little bit of background like on your entrepreneurial journey and how you got like, tell us where you're at now and how you got there?

Natalie Franke 2:55
Absolutely. So I was raised by a single mom in a small town just outside of DC. I mean, it was sort of an upbringing, where I was always encouraged to try new things and explore and discover. And when I was going into the final year of high school heading off to college, I discovered photography. And I also discovered that unlike a lot of the other jobs that I had worked up until that point where I punched in a time clock and then punched out when I was done, photography was a way that I was able to make money that was on my own terms that allowed me to do exactly what my heart wanted, I was able to connect with people. And long story short, I fell in love with the the craft the ability to capture images and the business the ability to actually monetize this passion that I loved. And so I went through college, and as I came to the close of that sort of season of my life as well, I made that decision not to get a job, I looked at the opportunity to go out into the traditional workforce and everything about it to me just felt like death. It really did. I mean, I just I looked out and I said, Wow, I can't spend the rest of my life in a cubicle. This is not going to happen. I love this camera. I love it, I'm able to do with it. I'm gonna go full time. So my journey really started as a photographer, I graduated from college, I built my photography business, I scaled it. And you know, anyone and you guys know this, anyone who's built a business knows that it is not, you know, rainbows and butterflies. It is struggle and hardship and joy, like you'd never imagine. But nonetheless, the struggle is there. And what I found is that as my business grew, and as I actually made more money, and I became more successful in all of the worldly definitions of that word, I also found myself feeling increasingly alone. And I found myself feeling overwhelmed by the isolation of getting up in the morning, sitting behind a computer, not interacting with other human beings, and trying to build this thing that I was so passionate about without true community and knowing that other people understood my pain. There were other people out there who had endured those same struggles, but they were my company. editors, and therefore in the current climate, I wasn't able to connect with them, I wasn't able to reach out to them. And so that's really later What year was this? When

Kathleen Shannon 5:07
did you graduate college?

Natalie Franke 5:09
So I graduated from college in 2012. I ran the business full time in the basically, in the years after that, leading up to the launch of rising tide, which was in the summer of 2015.

Kathleen Shannon 5:21
So hey, so it's relatively fresh.

Natalie Franke 5:24
It's new. It's still I mean, again, it's funny, because I think that due to the scale and size of it, people often assume it's just been around forever.

Kathleen Shannon 5:33
But I know what I thought,

Natalie Franke 5:35
yeah, I suppose I get that a lot. I get that a lot. But no, I mean, we're very new. And, you know, we, we created rising tide because of those feelings. And because, you know, I'm sitting there at a dinner table with two of my friends in that small town that I mentioned, talking about business, they were wedding photographers, as well. And we just realized that what we had as a group, the ability to sit down and share the struggle and carry the burdens together and not go through it alone. We wanted that for everyone. And I realized as well, if we don't build sustainable models of what it looks like to be a creative entrepreneur, and by sustainable I don't, you know, I don't mean what maybe most people would think I mean, by that I literally mean waking up in the morning and feeling okay, mental health check, like balance in your life check people to lean on to talk to the simple and fundamental elements of of human, you know, community and the need for us to be social creatures, if that's not established, and there aren't, you know, organizations or foundational structures that enable that within your journey. It is it's going to be not only harder, but I don't believe I really don't believe that you can go at it alone and be successful in the long run. That's it's a, it's not a long game plan. And so we wanted to change it. So we started by just getting people together for coffee. In our hometown, I was using the hashtag community over competition. It's funny, because at the time, no one had it was tiny, like no one talked about it, no one had heard of it. But we were using it. And all of a sudden, it was like someone just took a match and lit a fire the pains that I had been experiencing, other people had been experiencing. And that's why rising tide grew. It wasn't some magic growth hack. Everyone always asked me, How did you do it? What was the magic and the truth is there was a pain. And we provided an option for a solution. And it was that simple. We were in the right place at the right time. And we surrounded ourselves with phenomenal human beings who were willing to gather people together in their hometowns, just like we were doing in ours. And we built a global playbook with local execution. So we created a foundational structure that said, Hey, every month we're going to have a topic, we're going to talk about business, here are all the tools you need to lead your local city. And then we let the leaders truly run and run wild and feel ownership in their local area. And with that came growth, and we went from nine chapters to 100, from 100 chapters now, you know, two and a half, almost three years later, to over 400 chapters around the United States, Canada and the world. And I should mention, it's free. This is led by volunteers. This isn't you know, again, it's not an ever was meant to be rising tide, a business. It was a community and it was a passion project that kind of exploded. And, you know, for that it's these leaders that really drive it home. Okay, I

Kathleen Shannon 8:14
have so many questions about that. Because we know community engagement takes a lot of resources. And so while it's not a business, you do have to make some money to in order, just organize that and make all that happen. And I think community has become such a huge aspect to how creative entrepreneurs do run business, whether they're a part of a community or trying to build community themselves, I think it is an essential component that we've all seen is imperative, right? either find your business bestie or group of people or mastermind or something like rising tide, but I want to rewind to the building a photography business while you're in college. Because I can just imagine, like some college students listening to this and be like, wait, what, how? Right. So it's kind of reminds me of how one time I heard that Walt Disney started Mickey Mouse because like, he wanted to make some money, and I feel like that's impossible for anyone to do today. Like, you know, I want to make some money. So I'm gonna draw like a cute little cartoon character, and it's going to be the big thing, right? Yeah. Um, so it seems really probably to some listeners, like improbable, like, how did you manage college and building a photography business? And then also, there was something in your story that caught my ear as far as like really building it? Like, did you feel like you weren't actually building a business while you're in college? And then after you graduated and chose not to get a job that that's whenever it became real deal, and like, how did that mindset shift really affect things? So that's a lot of questions. I'm so bad about like asking a million questions in like one question.

Natalie Franke 9:47
I will do my best to answer the million questions too. I know, look, here. Here's the reality. I built that business in college because I didn't have another choice. I mentioned being raised by a single mom and I started working from the day I was able to get a workers permit. My mom sacrificed so much for my sister and I. And, you know, for me, it was never a question of whether I would work during college it was, you know, more of a necessity. So like I said, I had options, I could go work at a department store, at a coffee shop, I could work at a restaurant, or I could photograph and I chose to photograph. So for me, it wasn't really an option. I knew I needed to generate income. And I should say to you know, I paid my way through school, I had a lot of support from financial aid. But I also paid off all my student loans with that business. So it was, you know, not a fun hobby. For me, it was really something that I needed. And actually, I will add this to my first year of college, I was at, almost on not quite a full ride, but nearly a full ride at a state school. And as that business grew, I realized that I could actually afford to go to private to a private college, and I transferred my sophomore year to Penn. And I never would have been able to do that had it not been for that business starting to take shape. It came with sacrifices. I was in a sorority, but I missed nearly every event because I had to take the train on Friday nights back down to Baltimore to shoot weddings on Saturday and take the train back on Sunday to make it to my class for Monday. And I did that for years. So how did I do it? I didn't have a choice. I think it took grit and resilience and a desire, I said, you know what I would rather have this season of my life be insanely hard and difficult from the standpoint of time management and not having a ton of free time. So that I can pursue something that I really feel strongly about and learn and grow and be challenged in a unique way and own my own destiny, the autonomy side of it, the freedom side of it was really appealing than just go work for somebody else. Not that there's anything wrong with doing that it just wasn't in my DNA. And, you know, I kind of blame my mom like I, I watched my mom hold everything together in our lives and just her amount of work ethic and her just ability to persevere, I think really shaped my perception of what I was capable of. And so therefore, I never really allowed myself to to sit on my laurels. I was constantly working for good and bad. there's pros and cons to that, by the way. Wait, and so what was your major in school? So I actually I majored in visual neuroscience and psychology of seeing. So I was in a particular program that studied the visual cortex the brain, and we focused on you know, how we perceive the world, how we see it, understand it and interpret it. Because I didn't I didn't want to major in photography, cuz I was actually learning everything I needed to learn in photography, from YouTube from getting my hands dirty, going out and photographed, like, I didn't want to major in the thing that I knew I could gain in the real world. So I pursued something that I felt like would enable me to both run my business better, and understand, you know, human decision making and the psychology behind how we how we see. So that's Yeah, and I'm a nerd. I don't know. I'm a nerd wild.

Kathleen Shannon 12:40
So and that's okay. We are to especially Emily.

Thanks, Kathleen. No, I

just say that because Emily and her major I might I feel like I'm probably the only creative entrepreneur who was an art major, you know what I mean? Like, I think most of us were lawyers or scientists or whatever, and got artsy with it. So then did you imagine that your job Sorry, I was like, so hung up on this. But I think that we got some younger listeners who are pursuing this kind of decision making? Did you imagine that you were going to get a job then in that field? Like was that the game plan? And then whenever you're like, you know what, I'm not going to go get a job was at the photography career that you were really going to double down on? And like, what was that like?

Natalie Franke 13:25
Yes, so I looked out at what the options would be for someone with a very strange major that is a combination of art, art, history, psychology, and neuroscience, that knew they didn't want to go to med school, which is, again, a lot of people in a major actually went on to medical school, and they use that major, because it sounded funky. And so it gave them a, you know, a chance above the biology and the typical, the typical pre med majors. And I knew that wasn't the route for me. So, you know, I really was looking at options and everything from like, creative strategy to potentially working in, let's say, like a department store and actually doing visual design and thinking through how to increase sales by, you know, changing the the way in which you structure everything from a window display to magazine advertisement to because there's there's neuroscience and neuro marketing behind that. And so those, those are some of my options. And, you know, I don't really know, to be honest, when that epiphany happened for me, if I if I am being brutally vulnerable, I think it was the moment in which my grandmother passed away. I was a junior in college, and my, you know, again, mentioned being raised by single mom, my grandmother also then stepped in and was like my dad, you know, and so I had a village surrounding me. And she was much more of a parent than a grandparent. And when she passed, you know, right before she passed, she did make a comment to me. She said, I can't imagine you working for anyone else. She's like, I just don't see you ever working for anyone else. I can't imagine it. And I kind of laughed and I was like, what do you what do you mean, my mom, what do you mean? And she's like, I don't know that I just, I just want you to be happy. And I don't I don't see you ever being happy for somebody else. And, you know, it was a fleeting comment. It was Maybe three weeks before she passed away, but something about it, it just hit me. And I think, you know, I can't really say like, when did I decide not to get the job? What did I said, I think it was the moment I realized my life was short, my time was limited, and I refused. I absolutely refuse to waste a single second of it. And you losing my grandma, I think just push that to the forefront. And isn't it funny how things like that in our lives tend to do that. I mean, the last couple years of my life have been just an ongoing journey of that. And, you know, it's, it's something that I think a lot of us go through and can relate to, when we just realize the how fragile I think it is that life is. And I didn't, I didn't want to waste a second of my life not giving this a shot, I would have rather failed and have tried, then have spent my life asking like, what if I had done it? What if I had taken this business and not not gone the traditional route, you know, and I'd rather try it, fail miserably, make a fool of myself. And then, you know, know that I given it my all and I had done it with with everything that I had. So yeah,

Emily Thompson 15:59
I love this so much. And I think the thing that I admire the most is how, like who, with your dear life, you hold on to the idea that you have a choice and you like hold on to the fact that you have a choice. And you make it without, without looking at, or at least seemingly without looking at what so much is expected, or what the traditional route is and simply making the choice on your terms. I feel like so often, especially around like college age, you follow the crowd, like people go to college, they do the thing, they go get the job, and it's so much of it is unconscious, I think where where we just follow along, and we do the thing. And I think they're It's so refreshing to hear someone who saw all along that you had the choice and also made it. Thank you. That's really kind.

Kathleen Shannon 16:57
Okay, so the photography business, let's stay on our timeline here. I'm so curious now. So then after college, you got the photography business? And are you still doing photography. So what's happening now

Natalie Franke 17:11
secretly on the down low, I will tell you that I am still shooting a little bit, not professionally. So I have a wedding coming up in a couple weekends for a friend. And I obviously use use the skills that I've gained in that, that period of my life for different things. And I photograph on the office, I shoot for fun, and I do some brand campaigns and things like that. But no, I actually now have transitioned fully into this new role of being head of community and working in tech and leading rising tide. It's very different. Again, it's not anything I think initially foresaw. And this idea of giving yourself permission is interesting, because I think I just have a tendency, whether it's good or bad, to just make my own way. You know, even even the title I was the other day talking to someone and they're like, what does the head of community do? And I think I do whatever I'm doing at the time, you know, like that changes day to day that changes week to week, it will change month to month, depending on what we're working on what we're trying to do our initiatives, our goals.

Kathleen Shannon 18:08
And so would you say that's like technically a day job having the art of community? Okay, so tell us a little bit about that. So you were like, life is too short. I'm doing it on my own terms. And I do find that this hybrid is happening so much now where people are realizing that they can do more in the context of an organization where they do have more resources available to them than just going it alone. Right. And so tell us a little bit about that decision.

Natalie Franke 18:36
Yes. So I'm one of the strange ones that went from entrepreneurship back into working for someone, right? Again, I like to throw in this little Asterix and say, I work in tech, and we're going to start up. So in a way I does, you know, the amount of autonomy that I have, and I communicate, I just had a meeting with the CEO right before this interview. So it's different than a traditional structure that many people are accustomed to. And I think with that, it's it's probably the only reason truly that I can come in every day and love what I do. But it's been it's been an adventure, you know, I have learned more, I think, in the last two years of working alongside honeybook than I have, in many, many years prior to that, because I was able to take all the knowledge and skills I gained from building a business and running every aspect of a company, and then being able to hone in on just one. And so on one side, you know, it's very interesting to come into an organization where people are very specialized in their roles. And you're the only one in the entire Think of it this way. In startups. It's all investor funds out here in Silicon Valley. Unless you're bootstrapping it, like it's investor funds, to walk into a company and be the only one who's run a profitable business in the entire building from start to finish on your own. I mean, it's it's an unbelievable and very strange feeling to know that there are people here that know far more than you in their specialty, but you're the only one that can that has ever really run and seen the full picture of an orc. And so it's been both a challenge and As a huge opportunity, there have been moments where I obviously get frustrated because I am so used to having full control and autonomy, and other moments where I feel more empowered than I've ever felt. And I have mentors and I've been able to tap into people that have been building communities and, you know, writing books about building communities. And so I think it's been this, this nice hybrid of taking advantage of all that, that the startup and tech world has to offer, with, you know, making it very clear from day one that I'm not a typical employee, I am at the end of the day likely never go, I always say this to my boss, I say this is the only job I'll probably ever have. And it's by virtue of a merger and acquisition, you know, other than that, I will probably go on and build something else. Next, that's my goal, or create something else next. And so it's been eye opening, but I've also learned a lot. I really wait.

Kathleen Shannon 20:47
So do they own rising tide? I see. Okay, wait, tell me more. I don't know anything about any of this?

Natalie Franke 20:56
Yes, no. But this is a good question, we get this question a lot. Because in again, in the startup world, where a lot of creatives are their business, meaning, you know, they can scale by building employees under them or associates under them, but a lot of them in the photography, space, especially they are the business, so they can't really sell themselves anymore doesn't really work like that after they're done, perhaps like you could have sold a shoe store or something of that nature. So in this case, with rising tide, we built it to be a community, we had no interest in monetizing it, meaning I didn't want to charge people to attend meetings, I didn't foresee us hosting a big national conference, because there are already so many amazing conferences out there that were popping up and boutique ones that are popping up. And again, I'm like, rather empower them. We didn't see ourselves selling courses, because there were already so many great people volunteering for our community that had individual courses that they were selling and teaching in their specialties. And so we started by trying to find sponsors, and we got a couple different corporate sponsors that helped us to find some path to sustainability that didn't kind of take away from that that agreement, we all had to not charge for the meetings. And eventually, we realized that we needed we needed more support than that in order for us to transition out of, you know, focusing on photography full time. And for me to move into a role where I was building community full time now that it had grown, I needed to be able to do that. And so we just around that same time that we're having these conversations we met up with honeybook, we had flown out here to basically launch our two seas together meeting in San Francisco, we sat down at a table with them. And it was one of those moments where we just started to finish finish each other sentences about the new economy that's emerging. And the the way work is changing for people. And the future is freelance not even that the future people say the gig economy is the future. A lot of those jobs will be replaced by robots and automation. Just wait till self driving cars and the entire trucking industry, Uber Lyft. So

Kathleen Shannon 22:48
my husband does Jeffery Jr. Totally,

Natalie Franke 22:53
yeah, it's gonna change everything. So I want to be on the side of champion, championing human creativity and human passion for jobs that are going to shape the lives of all of us that boundaries and borders no longer really matter. And I could go on and on and on. But we started finishing each other sentences. And the CEO looked at me and he said, What do you need to What do you need? Like, what do you need to grow this to make this happen? And, you know, ultimately, that was the conversation that led to a partnership that led to you like, I need to do a full time, what I need is a salary. That's what I got in the morning and build this thing.

Kathleen Shannon 23:27
I could imagine that basically, it becomes a nonprofit and taking up a lot of your time, and I feel like Emily and I have had similar trajectories with even being boss, like creating this thing that's so much bigger than ourselves, that's free to so many people, but really having to find a way to monetize. So it sounds like kind of the best of both worlds. And we've had some amazing partnerships. So for us, like with fresh books, for example, has really afforded us the opportunity to keep doing it, and making it free for creatives to continue to participate and be a part of that community. So I want to come back to just really the philosophy of community and competition. And maybe we'll dig back into the like the inner workings of like, how do you actually make a community work and some tips and advice around that. But do you feel like you have a turning point or like a memorable moment where you realize that it really is about community over competition? Because I think that with the popularity of the hashtag people have kind of glossed over what that actually really truly means.

Natalie Franke 24:31
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Yes. Yes. Okay. So there have been many moments, many moments where I realized that this was the key. I think, for me, it came from a fundamental understanding that we can either look at each other as enemies, or we can look at each other as as comrades we can look at each other from from the standpoint of camaraderie that we're in this together. That is how like if you boil everything down to those two fun The mental viewpoints some would say one is the idea of abundance. The other is the idea of scarcity, meaning, you know, there's not enough to go around, I can't, I have to, I have to win at every turn, I can't let anybody get any market share, I have to dominate, always I know because if I don't, I'm going to lose, I'm going to crumble, I'm going to fail. If she succeeds, I'm not succeeding, if if that person gets that opportunity, it's means I'm losing, it means I'm less than it means I'm I'm falling apart. Versus, you know, there's more than enough for all of us to go around that. If we stand together, we can actually change far more than if we stand alone, that innovation, and the ability for all of us to forge our own paths to blaze our own trails, it doesn't deter from other people's success, but rather, it shows us sometimes just how far we can go. I like to say, you know, a glass ceiling isn't shattered by one woman, a glass ceiling is shattered oftentimes by hundreds of women over and over and over again, pushing farther in the boundaries that have ever been pushed before, until one of them is able to break through. But if we pull each other down, and we don't allow each other to climb, and to succeed, and to win, then we all get trapped and stay below the glass ceiling. And I think that that has always been a mentality for me that I've shared. You know, in my local town, when I would bring up an apprentice for photography, people would say, oh, but what if they steal your business? What if they learn all your secrets? And I say, What if they have something to offer me that I've never thought of what if they know how to do something in marketing or social media? Because they're a little bit younger, that I haven't learned yet. And so the mentality has to flip, you have to be able to turn that switch. And one of the biggest misconceptions about the idea of community over competition is that we don't believe in competition or that I don't champion the idea of competition, because it's easy to go, Oh, well, that's, you know, that doesn't make any sense that How could you not believe in competition, and here's the reality, I do believe in competition. I love healthy competition, keyword being healthy. And also the fact that it's not community without it's not saying community without competition, or, you know, let's eliminate competition as a concept. It's saying people come first and the way in which we view competition and the idea of a competitive industry needs to change, it means that we can still, you know, compete for the same business. That's okay, that's healthy. That's, you know, the the free market, that's the way the economy works. But it means that we don't step on one another to get to the top, it means that we don't rip each other apart in order for ourselves to look better to shine brighter. It also means that we don't, you know, discount the new voices, the newcomers, the dreamers, the people coming up who have ideas and want to try something new and want to innovate and want to change. You know, because I think that we do, we have a tendency to do that we have a tendency, once we've been in an industry for a long time to roll our eyes at people asking new questions, and to diminish the ability or potential of somebody to actually succeed because we can't imagine if they didn't do it the hard way that there's another way. And, you know, I hear this a lot, there was a psychological study done with with monkeys, where they actually had a fire pole in a large room full of monkeys, and they hung fruit from the top of the fire pole. And when a monkey would climb up to get to the top to grab the fruit, someone at the top would squirt them with a water hose and push them back down. So they were never able to go up and get the fruit. But nonetheless, they would try and they would try and they would try time and time again, to get the fruit. And one day, when they put the fruit out. They saw a monkey tried to scamper up another monkey pulled them down. The firehose didn't stop the monkey from getting the fruit. It was another monkey. That's a no, no, no, no, you can't get that you can't do that that thing up there. You're not gonna get it because I didn't get it. None of us got it. And so why would you? And eventually they stopped even trying. And so the reality here is that this is what I see in the creative world at times where, you know, we get bitter if we can't succeed at something and how dare someone else do it. And that's that mindset of scarcity, where what I want to challenge us to think about is this idea of supporting one another in the pursuit of success and actually championing, you know, people to to win and to succeed, and by cheering them on it, it doesn't take away from your success, it doesn't diminish your accomplishments or your ability to succeed. I think it actually empowers all of us to dream a little bit bigger and to do it in a way that I believe is more fulfilling.

Kathleen Shannon 29:18
This being boss episode is brought to you by 2020, where creative entrepreneurs get authentic real world stock photos. If you're looking to tell a true story about yourself or your brand, to deliver an honest message to your audience, the photos you use will matter. 2020 has crowdsource millions of photos from a community of over 350,000 photographers, all available under a simple royalty free license. Today they're offering listeners of being boss a five photo free trial to start yours right now. Go to 2020 comm slash being boss, that's the word 20 then two zero.com slash being boss to get five free photos. I use To play roller derby, and I loved whenever we would be in practice playing with each other, right? So we would split up our teams and anyone who's played any sport has this like these scrimmages, right. And it always felt so good even though in the moment we're competing, but to make each other better at our sport, right? So we're still trying to get those points and knock some girls down. But in the effort of helping each other get stronger, and faster and better, right, and so that's kind of how I think of community and healthy competition. And for me, also, you know, someone actually recently asked me this about me and Emily, even because we've, we've never had to compete against clients necessarily, but like, if there's ever any competition, I'm like, Listen, or you know, my other friends that literally do the exact same thing that I do is that that client might not be a good fit for me, they might actually be a far better fit. And I kind of have enough trust and faith in general that if someone chooses someone else, it's for a good reason. Like, I don't want someone choosing me, if it's not a good fit, so I like that. But how, speaking of scarcity in abundance, so abundance is my word of the year. And yeah, it's my word of the year, because I'm just interested in exploring that and I'm reading a book about scarcity. Have you read that? That scarcity book? No. What do you know the title? See, I'm so bad with titles because I'm always reading stuff on my Kindle, you know, so like, I never see like the front cover of the book. Okay, the book is called scarcity. Hang on here. The book is called scarcity, the new science of having less and how it defines our lives. So it's really breaking down the science like talk about nerding out on scarcity, and the mindset and all of that you should check it out. But it's really interesting. I'm curious to hear from you. What are your tactics for really embracing that abundance mindset? Because it's so easy to fall into scarcity and comparison traps? And all the things even earlier, you're talking about? Like, how do I monetize this thing? And you can kind of see, a few of those things come through like, Well, everyone has a course or Well, there's a lot of other conferences. So how did you reconcile that first off? And then like, how do you get into that abundance mindset and stave off scarcity? That can be so easy?

Natalie Franke 32:25
Yes. So I like to think a lot of times about where our abundance mindset first comes from before worrying about how do I how do I push the scarcity off? How do I keep myself from falling down that rabbit hole of fear and comparison and, you know, kind of crumbling at the seams. And, for me, it comes back to confidence, self confidence, knowing my worth and my value aren't weighted and the number of followers I have or comments that I get on social media or dollars in my bank account, that my worth and my value is inherent that it is, you know, unceasing unchanging, and not tied to a metric that can be easily fluctuated or changed.

Kathleen Shannon 33:03
What's going on over there?

Natalie Franke 33:06
San Francisco, where currently we have lovely sounds coming from every window.

Unknown Speaker 33:14
Real life

Kathleen Shannon 33:15
you were like, passionate, I like someone's backing up a piece of equipment.

Natalie Franke 33:21
This is this is the life of living in the city and being in the city. I'm sorry about that, guys.

Kathleen Shannon 33:27
You're fine.

Natalie Franke 33:28
I mean, I you know, it does, it goes back to this idea of of self confidence and self worth and knowing your value and knowing that it isn't, isn't tied to something that fluctuates or is fleeting or changes, I think it's easy for us to equate our worth, whether we're willing to admit it or not to the way we look, our body type, our ability to adhere to society's definition of beautiful, our you know, amount of money in our bank account the degrees or the title next to our name, we like to think that these things actually carry weight and value and in some ways they do in a worldly way they do but we can't allow that to actually penetrate I think like the core of who we are and and for me, that's that's where it starts. It's knowing that, you know, my value and my worth are not tied to those things. Therefore, you know, it's unceasing and unchanging, and from that affirming myself, and I would encourage you guys if you don't do this, you know, like anyone listening, have your affirmations know what you need to speak over yourself and encourage yourself in and do it, constantly do it frequently. When you see those gaps, those places where you might feel insecure or worried or, you know, feel as though you could perhaps be failing, build that confidence back up by speaking truth to yourself. You know, speaking at saying it out loud, it is so important writing it down. If you're someone likes to write it down, you can actually write it down. And so for me, I think that's where it starts. It begins by with acknowledging that my value doesn't change, my worth doesn't change based on on any other metric or someone else's ability to understand that or see it and then it also then trickles into then how you view other people. And if you can view yourself that way, if you can understand that you yourself are inherently worthy, invaluable, you are more than enough, just as you are. Then when you look externally, you start to see the beauty in other people, and you start to see the humanity and other people. And that's for me where empathy comes in the ability to actually understand the feelings of another human being because you yourself, have enjoyed them, or you yourself can imagine endorsing them. And I could go on for an hour about mirror neurons, empathy, and why the internet actually makes us far more difficult things like Facebook groups, things like chat rooms, things like forums, they didn't allow for mirror neurons to fire in the same way you're not seeing someone else's pain. When someone writes a nasty comment. You're not seeing intention or hearing tone, or understanding someone's desire and their humanity and their and being able to conjure up that true empathy for them. But that is for me, the secret ingredient, it's it's empathy. And it's that empathy that arises I think, from understanding your your wholeness and seeing, seeing the flaws, not only in yourself, that you're working to build and fill, but seeing the fact that everyone around you is struggling with their own things, they're enduring their own battles, they're going through life and doing the very best they can every step that they step sometimes feels like a stumble just like it does for you. And they're not this perfect villain that you're putting on a pedestal in the very, very back insecure section of your mind that we'd like to keep, you know, tucked away and not admit that we all have. And I, you know, I don't know if there's a secret formula are a perfect recipe in order to achieve a fully abundant mindset. Because I think that we all come into this with our own baggage that we carry from our past and our own struggles that we've endured from the time we were children all the way through where we are now. And so because of that, our approaches to achieving that mentality are going to vary. But nonetheless, I think that there are some some key things and it stems from your heart and it stems from from you, and knowing knowing your worth, I really do and then extending that to others.

Emily Thompson 36:59
Right. So this idea of like releasing competition and all the areas that it doesn't matter, in which you're wasting time, but I want to talk for a second about the areas in which competition is still very good and very high, where you need to be thinking about how it is that you can continue to push yourself further.

Natalie Franke 37:17
Absolutely. So there are a lot of places where competition, I think, is actually I like to think of as like an accelerant. It's it's fuel to a fire in a lot of instances, you can look at big industries and look at things like innovation, when there are multiple competitors, products are changing, they're growing, they're getting better, they're improving, they're innovating versus a monopoly, where there's no point to innovate or change or grow, because you already on the market. So why bother in areas of our lives that are similar to that it could be even when you see other people in your field doing really cool and innovative things. And it just pushes you that little bit further to actually think about, oh, well, what are my superpowers? And what are my strengths? And how could I change the way I'm doing x, y, z? You know, and I think from an innovation perspective, competition is very powerful. I also think that competition can be incredibly beneficial when it's against yourself. So what I like to say is, my biggest competitor is the woman I was yesterday, like, I'm competing to be better than I was yesterday, I want to be improving every day and growing every day. And I used to swim, I was a swimmer for a long time I met my husband rowing. So I've also, you know, spent a lot of time on an erg machine. And you know, in those instances, you're not competing against other people in the pool. Like despite what people think when they watch the Olympics, like oh, Michael Phelps is racing against these other swimmers. The reality is that that swimmer is racing against their own time. They've done this so many times, they know their time, they know how long it will take them to complete that race in the pool, regardless of what time it takes the other people to compete. So they need to improve on their time, every single time they dive into the water. Same with an erg, you need to pull harder and better every time you're competing against yourself. And so I love when as a business owner, I look at how I performed last year, what my goals were last year what my key results and objectives were and see did I need them? And how do I change the way I'm doing things in order to innovate in order to improve in order to be better. It's why things like freshbooks things like QuickBooks, honey books, whatever it is that you're using, it enables you to actually build better processes in your business and able to streamline things so that you can run your business better when you find something that helps you to do that you're doing it better than you did last year, you're going to be moving forward, freeing up more of your time to do what you love. Like that. That magic and secret sauce I think in the self competition mindset is very healthy. And I encourage it not only on my team, but I encourage it with with myself and you know, it has a pendulum that can swing both ways. You never want to be too self competitive that you tear yourself apart. But rather that you I think you celebrate the small victories that you make along the way and you always are challenging yourself to grow. But nonetheless, I think it's really valuable.

Kathleen Shannon 39:57
Sorry, I feel like I'm like dominating this No, you need to ask. Okay, well, then I have a question about self competition because I can definitely go to that place where I am tearing myself down. You know, even as an athlete like, this year, I haven't been able to deadlift as heavy as I did last year. And I'm giving myself a lot of grace there. But whenever it comes to business and your bank account, and all of those goals, a backslide can feel really discouraging, right? Yeah. And so how do you manage that whenever you're not hitting the same goals or things have changed, and you're like, kind of scrambling and you're not hitting that time or, or that money, or whatever it is, oh, I've

Natalie Franke 40:38
experienced this very recently. So a couple of months ago, I, you know, had been struggling with health issues behind the scenes for a long time. This is something that now is more public. But for years, you know, I never really opened up about it. Because when I was 21, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. And three little over now, I guess, four months ago, I got my latest MRI back from the doctors at UCSF and was told to two weeks notice that I needed to go in for surgery to remove my tumor. And so immediately in a matter of what felt like seconds, but reasonably was more like days, my entire world came to a halt. So being someone that is a perfectionist that for very, very long was actually a workaholic and had become addicted to the adrenaline rush of being stressed and overwhelmed, which is an actual thing. I watched as all of those goals had to suddenly come to a halt to a halt all the projects I had worked on, you know, for honeybook and rising tide, they had to stop all the personal brand projects that I wanted to work on had to stop, I want to work on a book that had to come to an end. And I recognized very quickly that that self disappointment and that sense of defeat is sort of a monster that can easily overcome even the best intentions and even the best desires. And what I found was that in giving myself grace, and really understanding what that word meant to me in that season of my life, it meant that I didn't have to adhere to the same goals because my life had changed. It didn't mean I would never come back to them. And it didn't mean that I would never pursue them in the same way. But it meant that I needed to find space within my world, to change my goals and to be willing to do so and to give myself forgiveness for not being able to work at the same way in the same way that I was before. And that meant things like, you know, my goal and competing with myself meant that just because I couldn't, you know, it's gonna sound silly, but I couldn't walk more than a couple blocks for weeks. You know, it's like, well, I'm going to try to walk a little further tomorrow. I you know, walking, can we just think about everything, I was setting goals in the six and seven figures marks right for a business. And all of a sudden, what a month later I'm my goal is can I walk a block today. So it's just like, think about that. And let that resonate for a second. Because sometimes we do get so caught up in the minutiae of, you know, I just want to be better and better and better and better. And we're chasing down this rabbit hole of our own success, not really appreciating and being grateful for the fact that our lungs are working and our eyes are working. And we have two hands and two feet that can move for us and anyone who's dealt with a chronic illness. And I should say there are some incredible chronic illness warriors in the creative industry, I have been floored and inspired and moved by them. Because people say oh, you inspire me I said you don't you should meet the people that inspire me because I can't hold a candle to some of these men and women that have endured things that you would never even know perhaps from from looking at what what they where they are, what they've overcome and what they do every day. But nonetheless, I think it goes back to, to really understanding that you have to forgive yourself and give yourself grace and know that your definition of success and winning is going to be different from everybody else's, it doesn't mean that you know, you're not going to be able to get back to where you are. If you feel a downside in your business or in your personal life or in your health or in your marriage or whatever it is, and you feel yourself retreating a little bit. You will one day get back to where you were in a new way, in a different way. But your success should not be defined by the goals you you set a year ago as well, right? You need to be constantly evolving those definitions of success based on where you are in your life and what season you are in your life and allowing yourself the ability to change, not feeling like you're locked into one particular thing.

Kathleen Shannon 44:18
I love that so much. And I think that's where the intentionality of how you move every single day really comes into it. And so one of my mantras lately has been high intense low attachment. And so I do have big goals. But I think what's even more important than my goals is the intention that powers the actions to get there. And so even if I'm not, for example, lifting as heavy today as I was three months ago, the intention to connect my mind my body to those muscles is so much stronger in those lifts at 25 pounds less than they were whenever I was just like doing anything I could to get that weight up and Anyway, um, how are you doing today? How is how are you? How's your health

Natalie Franke 45:05
are doing? Okay, you know, it's been a long road back, I talked about it a lot in terms of it's been a recovery journey and I am doing okay, you know, I came out of surgery and they were able to remove most of my tumor, which was such a gift. And, you know, minor complications from surgery, nothing super major, I came out with something called water, diabetes, it's diabetes insipidus, it's different from normal like type one, type two, it's basically my body doesn't retain water in the same way that it used to doesn't produce the hormone that tells my kidneys like, hey, hang on to that water, you need it to survive. So I'm constantly in a state of being thirsty. And I joke and like, I pee, like a pregnant woman. So all of my friends that are expecting, we are constantly making our quick trips to pee. And we're okay with that. And we're not ashamed of that at all. But I Other than that, you know, I'm bouncing back. And I am not the same person that I was before my surgery. And I mean that in the best way possible. I know that the past couple of months have been a really, really rough road, but I would never, never change this journey for anything, I feel very much more connected to, you know, my family and my friends, my faith, what I care about my business, even from the mindset of it's about my legacy, it's not even about today's it's like what I accomplished today, it's about what I'm doing for other people that's going to turn into this, you know, larger legacy and larger ability for world change. And so I'm grateful I'm doing okay, but I, you know, it's been, it's been hard, but I'm really, really grateful. Well, you

Kathleen Shannon 46:36
are a light, your energy is shining a real bright. So kudos on that. And wishing you like a healthy recovery. Thank you. So from the experiences that you've had, whether it's the surgery, and you saying that you're a different person, today than you were four months ago, or maybe even from college and or being raised by a single mom, from all of your experience, like what are three things that you wish every creative entrepreneur knew? Or maybe even if you had to like give yourself five or 10 years ago, some advice like what would that be?

Natalie Franke 47:15
Oh, man. So some advice, I think, I think this is ultimately what I would say. You have to make a decision very early on, about who you want to be. It's not about what you want to do and what you want to accomplish, or what checkmarks Do you want what title you want, what job you want, even what business you want, you need to decide very early on, who you want to be and why. What is the purpose for your life right now, in this moment, and then from that, everything else will flow. Because oftentimes, we do something just to do it. And we don't understand the purpose behind it. But once you understand the purpose, and you build your business on a foundation of purpose, you build your life on a foundation of purpose, the rest will come It may not look like what you want, but it will come if you're chasing after one goal. And just one goal without understanding why. And understanding how it rolls up to who you want to be and the impact you want your life to make, then it will have far less meaning that if you've set it up the right way, I also think, you know, I would tell myself at a very, very young age that once you discover that purpose, and you know what makes your heart tick, and you understand why you get up every single morning and go do it over and over again. It's okay if the thing you do changes, as long as the purpose is something that you can feel confident in every single day meaning, you know, I photographed weddings, because I desperately cared as I as I moved in the photography, while they desperately cared about people, and love and connection and relationship and human connection and relationship. And now I don't shoot weddings anymore, I build community. But yet again, I'm still drilling into this desire that people have to connect and be connected and feel a sense of companionship and community in a different way. And my purpose continues to be at the forefront of that. I would also tell myself, look, it's going to be really hard, it's going to be really, really hard. It's not going to look like anything that you could possibly expect for yourself. And there are gonna be moments where you want to, you know, bawl your hands up into fists and literally pound away the very thing that you've built, where you're going to want to give up and you feel like every step you take is a stumble, and you're going to question everything. But don't let that stop you. Don't let that be the barrier that keeps you from taking the next step forward. Because it's only really failure if you don't get back up. Having resilience and having grit in in the things that matter are going to take you far, far, far far along on your journey in a way that just getting lucky never will. And it's not your successes that will actually teach you what it means to be successful. But it's your failures that will make you appreciate the tiny victories and show you what success should actually look like in your life. Think that's Yeah, thanks. Guess what I would tell myself.

Emily Thompson 50:01
I think if the future me told me that right now I'd probably just cry. I kind of want to cry, but hearing it just have at it. Because those things are true. Not even, you know, not even in the beginning or like early in the stages, but even for me 1015 years later, like that shit still resonates quite a lot like those feelings never go away. And I think I think the earlier you can just come to terms with all of those things and just keep pounding forward. You'll You know, you're gonna be getting where you want to go. Even if you don't know what that looks like yet. So I love that. I love all of that. Thank you very much.

Unknown Speaker 50:43

Emily Thompson 50:44
what are you geeking out about right now?

Natalie Franke 50:48
Okay, so I mentioned being a nerd. I hope this isn't too nerdy. I don't think it will be. I think you guys will look at me for my geekiness in this moment. I

Kathleen Shannon 50:56
mean, I'm reading a book about the science of scarcity. So I'm with you, whatever. You're going to say,

Natalie Franke 51:05
oh, man, I am loving Roger Dooley, his blog. So there's this neuro marketer named Roger Dooley, and he wrote a book called brain Fluence, which I've read now I think four or five times I have it next to my bed like a mat. Some people keep certain books like that is my book I keep next to my bed is brain Fluence. I love this book. And I really love I love what he writes about. But his blog is fantastic. He brings on a lot of different neuroscientists, marketers, just thought leaders in the business space. And it's, it's incredible. So I read this article today about marketing and using the visual fields to structure the way in which you market content to someone and essentially, because of the way our brain works, and the way our right and left visual fields, reflect through the visual cortex into the back of the brain and the way we perceive that information and all of it, you can boil it down to say that if you want to convey something emotional, you need to put it on the left hand side, the left visual field, if you want to convey something quantitative, logical data driven, you need to put it on the right hand side of a screen of a stage, you name it. So even when you're teaching someone how to speak on a stage, the way in which they turn to convey emotion, being on stage left or stage right should be different from the way in which they turn to convey a joke, or a logical fact, or something of that nature in order to better resonate with the audience. And so I will, I'll find a way that we can share this with with anyone listening, but this neuroscience blog, it just blows my mind, it blows my mind. I'm super geeking out about it. I, I loved reading that article. And there are so many more in there just about marketing and business and how the brain works, how consumer decision making works, and ultimately how it all rolls up into little tactical things you can do right now, to change the way that contents resonating and conversion rates are, you know, fluctuating and different things you're launching.

Emily Thompson 52:48
So yeah, it's awesome. That is so wonderfully nerdy.

Kathleen Shannon 52:51
On our willing, we'll include a link in our show notes. I don't know. I feel like especially with speaking I'd be like, Wait, is it their left? Is it my left?

Emily Thompson 53:01
that right? Yeah. I don't want to see like I it's hard for me to speak well, focusing on what I'm saying, let alone making sure I'm standing in the right place and turning in the right direction at the right moment. Like you won't want to see me flub over my words and look like a ridiculous person.

Kathleen Shannon 53:19
That's not true at all. You were so good at it. But I respect

Emily Thompson 53:26
to speaking. I simply know myself. It's fine. It's fine. That's fascinating, though. Thank you so much for sharing that, of course.

Kathleen Shannon 53:35
And Natalie, what are you working on right now? Oh, so

Natalie Franke 53:39
working on a couple different things I really want to get on the ground walking. It sounds walking now that are on the walk now.

Kathleen Shannon 53:46
You're good.

Natalie Franke 53:46
I'm I'm great. Now, in terms of walking, I've been back into even workout classes now. Which has been great. And traveling again. So walking is something I've checked off now, which is good. But no, I'm working on a couple different things. I'm getting on the ground more and connecting with the communities as they are in their hometown. So we're going to Atlanta will be going to a couple different places, which I'm excited about. I'm also trying to get this book proposal up and running. I really want to write a book. This is my 2019 dream project. So trying to kind of get myself into gear of actually creating that content. You know, it's great to have the vision I've got to get my butt in gear and then get stuff done. So that as well. And then just honestly enjoying enjoying the season. I have some silly but I'm enjoying this season. I'm out of surgery and spending time with my husband and our dog and just embracing life as much as I can every moment of it.

Emily Thompson 54:40
Wonderful and what makes you feel most boss? Oh, honestly,

Natalie Franke 54:46
I think it's looking around at the people in my life and knowing that this business has allowed this type of community to grow that you know, seeing it's like seeing the faces of other people. It really is like looking around me Like, wow, because of rising tide, these two podcasters met and now they're at the top of the charts. And because of this thing that we did this project, now school is going to be built in Laos through Pencils of Promise, and, you know, seeing those types of legacy style, you know, accomplishments that that for me is like, Damn, you know, I feel like a boss, I feel like I've done something that I'm really proud of.

Emily Thompson 55:25
Thank you so much for coming and sharing your story. And all of the inspiration, I got cold chills a couple of times. And I think that I mean, obviously, what you're doing is resonating with so so many people, and it's so necessary, Kathleen, and I see it for sure. where, you know, choosing this path is sometimes as a kiss of death. But if you do it correctly, if you build that sustainable life as a creative entrepreneur, like you were talking about, it's not it's it's the perfect solution to so many problems that so many people face. And I love that you've, you've given our community to a way to show up and see that you don't have to do it alone. Well, thank

Natalie Franke 56:15
you guys so much for having me. I really appreciate it. And what you felt is extraordinary talk about a community it's it's really extraordinary. So from one community builder to to another, I mean, y'all should be damn proud. You've done an incredible job. And I'm just honored to get to share a little bit with with your community. So thank you.

Kathleen Shannon 56:31
I know we didn't even get to nerd out on like, what it means to build community and how you the technicalities behind facilitating that. So maybe we'll have to have you on again to talk about that, because that is definitely something especially that offline component is something that we've really been passionate about. And if we are doing things online, how do we bring those offline VA vibes into that space and into our conversations and into our Instagram and all the places? So anyway, Natalie, it's been so great, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for having me. Hey, bosses, I want to tell you about the CEO day kit. The CEO day kit is 12 months of focus planning for your business in just one day. So Emily and I have packaged up the exact tools that we've been consistently using for years that have helped us grow from baby bosses to the CEOs of our own businesses. gain clarity find focus, get momentum, prioritize your time, make better decisions and become more self reliant with the CEO day kit. Go to courses that being boss club to learn more and see if it's a fit for you and your business. We'd like to give a shout out to our partner fresh books cloud accounting, you can try it for free for 30 days no credit card needed and cancel anytime. Just go to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section. Special thanks to our sponsor 2020 who is offering are being boss listeners of five photo free trial to start yours right now go to 20 twenty.com slash being boss. That's the word 27 to zero.com slash being boss to get five free photos. Thank you for listening to be boss. Find Articles show notes and downloads at WWW dot being boss club. Thank you so much to our team and sponsors who make being boss possible our sound engineer and web developer Corey winter. Our editorial director and content manager Caitlin brain, our community manager and social media director Sharon lukey and are being countered David Austin, with support from braid creative and indicia biography.

Emily Thompson 58:42
Do the work. Be boss, and we'll see you next week.